THE Vietnamese Rubber Enterprise Foundation (VREF) will spend US$55 million on growing rubber in five Cambodian provinces this year, its president said.
Leng Rithy, president of VREF, told the Post on Tuesday that the federation is set to grow the crop on 20,000 hectares of land in Kampong Thom, Kratie, Ratanakiri, Stung Treng and Preah Vihear provinces.
“We hope that Cambodia’s rubber plantations will grow bigger and bigger thanks to this plan. This will bring both job opportunities, increase income for the Cambodian people, and improve the economy,” he said.
VREF is an umbrella group which represents 14 companies. In November, it announced it wants to invest $600 million in growing rubber by 2012 on 100,000 hectares throughout the Kingdom.
According the federation’s 2010 plan, 8,900 hectares of rubber will be grown in Kampong Thom, 7,500 hectares in Kratie, 1,500 hectares in Ratanakiri, 1,100 hectares in Stung Treng, and 1,000 hectares in Preah Vihear.
By 2017, the VREF wants to export 150,000 tonnes of rubber per year, rising to 250,000 tonnes in 2020, said Leng Rithy.
Mork Kim Hong, president of the Cambodian Rubber Association (CRA), said Tuesday: “We welcome the Vietnamese federation’s plan to grow rubber in Cambodia. The plan will be advantageous for the future of Cambodia’s economy.”
Currently, the government imposes a $50 charge on every tonne of rubber exported from Cambodia. Companies must also pay 20 percent income tax.
Mork Kim Hong added: “If the Vietnamese company is really able to grow rubber on as much land as they have announced, I believe that, in five years, Cambodia’s government revenue from tax on rubber exports will be $40 million to $100 million per year.”
A report from Cambodia’s General Directorate of Rubber Plantations (GDRP) showed that Cambodia grew 123,000 hectares of rubber through family and private farms in 2009. Around 50,000 hectares of the plants are yielding rubber, providing 50,000 tonnes of dry rubber for export. Another 73,000 hectares have been planted but have yet to mature.
On Tuesday, no statistics detailing the amount of rubber exported in 2009 were made available by GDRP.